A Need To Draw The Line
This is a difficult question to answer. I would like to say that it is not
necessary to draw any lines. I would like to be able to say that I, as a
female member of the hip hop generation, could call myself a hip hop
feminist. However, while I do at times feel immersed in the culture,
whether it be through the music I listen to, the clothes I wear, the way I
talk - I have never considered hip hop my way of life - I have never been
completely immersed in hip hop in that way.
I have listened to hip hop
music countless numbers of times and felt conflicted about what I was
listening to, but aside from a casual conversation here and there, I have
never been actively involved in discussing my issues with what was said.
Pough's point, however, is not complete.
After watching the movie in class today it became more clear to me what it
truly meant to be a hip hop feminist. It is all about being active. It's
more than just being a consumer - which, the more on more I think about it,
has been my primary involvement in respect to the culture of hip hop. I
have consumed it but never furthered its advancement personally. I have not
contributed to its cause. Am I any less part of the movement? No, I would
still very much call myself a part of the hip hop movement - certainly a
part of the hip hop generation. I do not think the movement would be as
powerful if it was not for its consumers and those of us who appreciate
what hip hop has to offer and it embrace in our lives. But can I call
myself a hip hop feminist because I am a female who got upset when Eminem
called his mom a whore? No. And Pough is correct to point that out.
However, she fails to clarify what it means to be immersed in hip hop
culture. The women in the film are a perfect example. All of them were
active members of the hip hop community. They lived hip hop everyday of
their lives - it truly was their way of life - and, for many of the women,
like T-Love, all they knew. It could not even escape them.
Michael Jeffries writes, "A hip-hop feminist is someone who locates herself
historically as a member of the hip-hop generation, and lays claim to
knowledge of hip-hop as a cultural phenomenon." He goes on to say that,
"This claim to knowledge includes familiarity with hip-hop history and
practice, and continued investment in contemporary hip-hop causes and
communities." I think this is where Pough's definition lacks - she fails to
include the need for action. That is where the line truly needs to be
drawn. I have long been a static member of the hip hop movement and lacked
a significant amount of knowledge about the history and practice of hip
hop. The line needs to be drawn so that it does not take away from those
that are the experts - those that are truly hip hop feminists.